low FODMAP yaprak sarma - karlijnskitchen.com

Low FODMAP Yaprak Sarma – Turkish stuffed vine leaves

During my first ever holiday in Turkey, yaprak sarma was the first real Turkish dish that I tried. I still remember that very well. Together with my parents and sister I was making a road trip through Turkey and after a long day of traveling and looking for a hotel we found a very cute little hotel in a village.

The hotel was ran by a family and nobody spoke a word of English. They were super kind and helpful though. Every evening the family cooked dinner for their guests and we decided to join the dinner the first evening.

We tried to ask what was on the menu, but we couldn’t communicate with each other. The cook took a leaf from the grape vine, rolled it up and pointed at it.

That would be our dinner tonight. We had no idea what he meant, but we were fine with everything. It turned out that that dish was yaprak sarma.

Stuffed vine leaves with rice. This dish is almost low FODMAP by itself, apart from that onion is often added to the rice. Today I share my recipe for low FODMAP yaprak sarma.

This is a vegetarian version of yaprak sarma, but sometimes the vine leaves are also stuffed with a mixture of minced meat and rice. That is also very tasty.

You’ll have to take some time to prepare this recipe. Filling and rolling the vine leaves is a time consuming chore, but you will end up with an amount of yaprak sarma that you can eat from for days.

I bought the smallest package of vine leaves that I could find in the Turkish supermarket, but I could still make 70 yaprak sarma’s with this.

I rolled them all immediately because that makes the most sense to do while you started. You can easily freeze the low FODMAP yaprak sarma, so you can save part of the sarma’s for later.

This recipe is based on a recipe for yaprak sarma from Mijn mixed kitchen, my favorite Dutch blog with Turkish recipes.

Low FODMAP yaprak sarma in a pan
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yaprak sarma - karlijnskitchen.com

Low FODMAP Yaprak Sarma – Turkish stuffed vine leaves

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  • Author: Karlijn
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Servings: 70 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Turkish stuffed vine leaves with rice. Low FODMAP yaprak sarma! It takes some time to make, but it is so worth it! Gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan.


  • 500 g white rice
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste, 1 for in the rice mixture, 1 for in the stock
  • 1 tbsp pepper paste (you can buy this in a Turkish supermarket too, can also be replaced with an extra tbsp of tomato paste if you can’t find it)
  • 1 lemon, in slices
  • Fresh parsley
  • Paprika powder
  • Dried mint (I also buy this in the Turkish supermarket)
  • Pepper and salt
  • 1 stock cube (check the ingredients for FODMAPs)


  1. Rinse the rice well.
  2. Heat some olive oil in a pan. Add the rice and fry shortly. Add the tomato and pepper paste and stir everything together well. Fry for about a minute.
  3. Add parsley, paprika powder, mint, pepper and salt. Use a bit more than you would usually do because in the boiling process part of the flavour will evaporate. Stir well and take the pan off the heat. You are going to fill the vine leaves with uncooked rice. The rice will be cooked later, together with the vine leaves.
  4. Leave the mixture to cool down.
  5. In the meantime, take the vine leaves from the package and carefully take them apart. Rinse them one by one.
  6. Put all the leaves in a pan with boiled water (not on the stove) and leave them for five minutes. Drain.
  7. Take a large pan and put some olive oil on the bottom. Put a few broken vine leaves on the bottom of the pan. This will stop the yaprak sarma from sticking to the pan.
  8. Now you can start rolling the vine leaves. It took me about 2 hours to finish them all, so sit down at the table and put on a nice TV show 😉 Doing this standing up will not be nice for your back. I used a cutting board to put the vine leaves on. On one side of me, I had the pan with the rice mixture and a plate with vine leaves and on the other side the pan to put the yaprak sarma in.
  9. Take a vine leave and put it on the cutting board with the veins up. Cut or break the stem off carefully. Put a little bit of the rice mixture onto the bottom of the leaf. Make sure you leave some space between the rice and the end of the leaf. Take the two lowest ends of the leaf and fold them over the rice. Do the same for the left and the right end of the leaf. Then roll up the leaf tightly from the bottom to the top. The first ones will be a bit difficult, but after a few you will know how to do it.
  10. Put the sarma into the pan and repeat the same steps for the other vine leaves. Make sure that you put the low FODMAP yaprak sarma close to each other in the pan. If they are too loose, the rolls can open while cooking and that is something that you want to avoid. If the bottom of the pan has been filled you can put the next sarma’s on top of the others.
  11. When you have finished all the sarma’s, you cut a lemon into slices. Put the slices on top of the sarma’s and put a plate, turned up-side-down on top of that. This will also avoid the sarma’s from opening while boiling.
  12. Mix boiling water with a tablespoon of tomato paste and a stock cube. Pour the water into the pan until the plate is just under water. Put the pan on the stove and bring to boil.
  13. Leave the sarma’s to simmer for 45 minutes on low heat. It is important that you use a pan that is big enough because the sarma’s will get bigger while boiling. The rice increases in volume when it is cooked.
  14. Turn off the heat after 45 minutes and leave the sarma’s in the pan with a lid on (without draining the water) for at least 30 more minutes.
  15. And your low FODMAP yaprak sarma’s are done! They are delicious to eat warm, but cold also tasted fine. If you have sarma’s left, you can store them in the fridge or in the freezer.
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 45 min
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 min
Low FODMAP Turkish stuffed vine leaves on a plate

Will you let me know if you have made this recipe? I would love it if you would let me know what you think about the recipe by leaving a comment and a rating below. You can also share your creations with me by tagging me on Instagram @karlijnskitchen or by using the hashtag #karlijnskitchen. 

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  • Kathy Ellis says:

    Being half Greek I grew up on stuffed grape leaves…nowhere was I able to find out if they are low fodmap. I will omit the onions and junky soaked bread and be happy if you tell me that grape leaves are indeed low fodmap. I tried to email you with the @ you provided, but it would not take….so that is why I’m sending this…thank you for input! Kathy

    • Hi Kathy, i don’t think grape leaves have been tested on FODMAPs. But I have never heard that they are high in FODMAPs, so I think it is worth trying. I can eat them without getting problems 🙂

  • Yiannis says:

    Hi Karljin!
    I am a Greek-Cypriot, trying to cope with my IBS, unfortunately it’s not yet 100% determined what can I eat and what not but I’m getting there, thanks to you too! So, we know this recipe by it’s Greek name, dolmades, or coupepia in Cyprus. Experiment result: No onions – no problem. A bit of onions, eh, so and so. I did not even dare to try with more onions. In the Summer, one can also use pumpkin flowers instead of vine leaves or both, in the same pot with the same procedure, except for boiling them first – some do, some do not, I don’t. Then you have in the same dish sour dolmades, (or yaprak sarma or coupepia or dolma-Arabic) and somewhat sweet dolmades, interesting, don’t you think? Or, to make things more interesting, get some fresh round tomatoes too, scoop out the flesh fill them with stuffing and add them in the pot! And to spice things up, when everything is in the pot, sprinkle some oregano and basil on top, after you have added the water, not much just a bit, we are not making a pizza!

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